Felted fleece rugs are totally “sheep friendly”. No sheep are harmed in the process of making them, hurray! They may look just like sheepskin rugs but if you turn one over, you will see the base of the rug is made entirely of wool, not a hint of hide in sight.
Iona provided the fleece to make this rug, in fact this is the second rug I’ve made from the same fleece. It comes from Iona’s first shear when she was just over a year old so is extra soft and snuggly.
As Iona matured from wee lamb to sheep, her fleece transformed from black to various shades of brown. As spring turned into summer she developed pretty copper and cream highlights. By the time we came to shear her, she bore a striking resemblance to a miniature lion!! As you can see from the gallery pics her fleece has a certain jungle print air about it.
On closer inspection you will see a tight crimp running through the individual wool fibres. This crimp is what makes Ryeland wool so springy and bouncy. You will also notice how fine the fibres are which is what makes the wool so soft and Ryeland sheep so cuddly.
The “Iona II rug “measures approximately 24 by 21 inches including locks. (Lock length is approximately 2 inches). This rug would be ideal as a bedside rug where footfall is light and barefeet will get to benefit from its softness. It would also work well as a throw, placed at the foot of a bed, or draped over a sofa close at hand to snuggle into on chilly nights. Alternatively it would make a fabulous addition to the nursery as a baby rug.
Making each rug is a labour intensive but enjoyable process. It takes me several days to make a rug as everything is done by hand. See how I make them at: making-felted-fleece-rugs.
My husband and I run a small holding in the Galloway Hills of South West Scotland. We keep a flock of Coloured Ryeland sheep as well as hens and two rescue dogs. We try to live as sustainably as we can and we like to use what we produce in creative ways.
We do not use chemicals on our sheep, we are lucky, there are not many flies up here in the hills. In the summer we spray them as a precaution, but use an organic product based on lemons which smells lovely. As we cuddle our sheep frequently and use their fleeces to make things with we prefer to keep things natural.
Until recently Ryeland sheep were considered to be a “rare breed”. This is partly why we chose to keep them as we wanted to boost numbers. They are also the ideal sheep for smallholders as they’re friendly and easy to handle. As an added and wonderful bonus, they happen to be a top quality wool breed.
In keeping with our holistic approach I wanted to make more use of their fleeces. We send some away to be spun into yarn but recently I decided to try something different, rug making! I love the way that by making these rugs, the same sheep can provide a rug year after year.
Please note, although I carefully wash and rinse each rug, you may still find tiny bits of hay/grass/seeds hiding away in the fleece.
Should you need to wash these rugs yourself, they be machine washed on a wool cycle at no more than 30’ using a wool detergent. Alternatively they can be gently soaked in lukewarm water with a squeeze of wool detergent, followed by a refreshing vinegar rinse to keep the pH happy.
A final wee note, regarding postage, should you wish to order more than one rug please contact me as I might be able to combine postage costs depending on where you are and size of rugs you would like.